ABSTRACT

Cricket, that quintessential South Asian game, a gift of colonial English rule to the subcontinent has certainly created a level playing field of sorts in our globalized world. As I write this, little Sri Lanka has thrashed both India and Australia, giants in the game. But alas, in my field of intellectual work, cinema studies, which I have engaged in almost since its inception as a discipline around 1976, the playing field has been very slow to level out, so to speak. Let me explain briefly, by way of an introduction to this essay. Even in the twentyfirst century, with ‘World Cinema’ as the new buzz word galvanising networked scholarship, it is still the most naturalized of moves to start with say a Russian, an American, a German or a French Filmmaker’s work as generative of conceptual and ideational material for thinking modernity and cinema. The formulation of a South Asian conceptual optic for the study of Western cinema and Indian cinema is, I think, rather rare.